Tom Sorensen

NASCAR had to act on changes to points system, and old-school fans have to deal with it

NASCAR had to do something about the points system because seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, bearded or not, isn’t enough to keep everyone’s attention.
NASCAR had to do something about the points system because seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, bearded or not, isn’t enough to keep everyone’s attention. AP

NASCAR’s new points system will anger some old-school, long-time racing fans. But most of those fans have been angry since NASCAR instituted the Chase, the sport’s version of the playoffs, in 2004.

As TV ratings and attendance attest, NASCAR had to act. Just as crew chiefs and mechanics scramble to get more speed out of their car, NASCAR’s leaders are scrambling to get more out of their sport.

The racing was good last season, but who knew? I once went to pick up a credential for a boxing match and the promoter gave me 16 because there were too many open seats near the ring. Go to pick up a credential to a race, and the promoter might hand you 16,000.

The new format, which awards points throughout the race, will be difficult to track. But loyal fans will adjust. For the young fans the sport covets, this will be the only format they've known.

Driver Denny Hamlin offered a good quote. “You don’t need to know to build a watch,” he said. “You just need to know what time it is.”

Chicago was never much of a band, but they did ask if anybody ever really knew what time it is. NASCAR does.

It’s time to give fans another reason to care.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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